Many green-fingered Brits are keen to give a helping hand to the environment by turning their garden into a wildlife haven. But how exactly can you transform your garden into a wildlife haven?
To help, we have compiled a list of tips that can get you well on your way to drawing more nature and wildlife into your garden. And don’t worry, they aren’t all expensive, some of them only involve gathering what is already on your doorstep and moulding it into a pile. Sounds easy right?
10 Ways to Transform Your Garden Into a Wildlife Haven
1. Tidy your garden (but not too much)
Despite the fact that many of us appreciate a freshly trimmed garden with clean lines dividing the meeting of grass and soil, to create the perfect wildlife haven don’t be too tidy.
This is suggested as a few messy areas in your garden can help attract wildlife. For instance, by simply having a pile of leaves with a few twigs can help provide wildlife with both food and shelter.
If you finish Winter with leftover perennials, think before getting rid, as their hollow stems could become the perfect shelter for insects.
2. Install a pond
Although natural ponds are best, you can always purchase a bucket or stone basin and bury it into the ground to create a DIY pond. It is important that it is located in a spot which is partly in the sun and partly in the shade. This is as it will prevent the pond from going stagnant.
Also, you should try to make sure the pond has one sloped side; this is as it will allow wildlife to easily enter and exit the pond. If you are a fan of fish, keep in mind that they are likely to eat any wildlife that enter the pond before you invest in a load.
One good tip is to grow water lilies in your pond to help keep it oxygenated.
3. Consider your fence
Firstly, people tend to invest in a fence to determine the divide between you and your neighbours garden. Alternatively, they can also be utilised to stop any unwanted visitors from entering your property.
However, if you are wanting to create the best wildlife haven, ensure that your fence has gaps at the bottom. By including gaps in your fence you are giving small animals such as hedgehogs and frogs entry to your garden. Because let’s face it, there’s not much point in creating the perfect wildlife haven if you aren’t going to let small animals into it!
4. Create a hotel for insects
Insect hotels can be created in two ways. Either by gathering materials such as rocks, bricks, logs, twigs and leaves into a pile located in a quiet spot or by purchasing one from your local gardening store.
The purpose of creating a hotel for insects is to allow them a safe area to hibernate as well as to encourage insects into your wildlife haven.
If you are interested in building an insect hotel yourself, check out this step by step guide.
5. Compost Bins
Compost bins are not only the perfect way to dispose of any of your food waste and excess soil, they can also be the perfect home for many species. For instance, worms, woodlice, spiders, fungi and frogs, are just a few of the creatures you could be soon housing!
Simply put food waste into the compost bin and turn it every so often with a fork, we recommend doing this at least once a week. On average, compost can take anywhere from a couple of months to a whole year to be ready to spread around your garden. And once it is ready, you can start again.
Wanting to compost but don’t know where to start? Here is our Composting Guide for Beginners.
6. Feed the birds
Like most animals, birds will be drawn to your garden if you put out food for them. The best way to offer food to the birds is to place it in a bird box or feeder. This ables the birds to eat in a safe place. Bird boxes and feeders can be purchased from many places in a wide array of prices, meaning you are bound to find the perfect box you’re looking for.
However, another method of feeding the birds in your wildlife haven is by positioning protein-rich food around your garden. Most commonly, these include fat balls. These are especially great in the Spring when birds are trying to feed their young.
It is important to make sure when positioning the bird food that it is high up to avoid being within reach of predators. Also, ensure it is in a place where the birds can easily get in and get out.
7. Scatter seeds
What’s a wildlife haven without wildflowers? By simply scattering the wildflower seeds in a part of your garden you can easily grow your own meadow. This would not only look amazing in your wildlife haven but would also create the ideal spot for insects to live.
Furthermore, another benefit of planting wildflower seeds is that they are low maintenance. We recommend wildflowers such as poppies, nigella, corn marigolds and annual grasses.
8. Think about trees, shrubs and climbers
Not only will planting trees, shrubs and climbers enhance the visual side of your garden it will also attract different types of creatures. Depending on what you plant, this could also provide food to the animals. For instance, flowers, fruits and seeds
Not only that by planting these in your garden you can be creating shelter and nesting areas for animals.
9. Create a wildlife observing area
If you’re looking to transform your garden into a wildlife haven you’re going to need somewhere to appreciate it. So why not create an area with a few comfy chairs or sofas where you can sit down and observe nature at it’s best.
You could even invest in a pair of binoculars to observe the insects and animals up close without having to get too close. This could reduce the risk of scaring them off.
10. Plant some plants
Rather than choosing the plants to include in your garden on looks and smells alone. Consider how they could influence your wildlife haven.
For example, flowers can provide pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies and more. Pollen is key to fertilisation. Therefore it is important to try and provide pollen for as long as possible.
Why not challenge yourself to planting and growing as many different varieties of plants as possible? You could even try planting both native and non-native plants which can help ensure there is colour throughout the seasons.
It is recommended to avoid too many highly-bred cultivars that have big or double flowers as these are likely to contain little or even no pollen or nectar.